An armed man arrested two weeks ago while wearing a bullet-proof vest is a former city police officer and the vest he wore is city property, Chief John Lowry confirmed Monday.
Sherrill E. Watson, 31, 1409 Central Ave., Elizabethton, is now out of jail on bond monitoring while he awaits a September court hearing on the charges. He resigned from JCPD a little more than two months ago, according to Lowry.
Watson is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, aggravated domestic assault and committing a felony while wearing a city-issued body vest. A second warrant charges Watson with unlawful possession of a weapon and simple domestic assault.
Both warrants stem from the same incident that occurred July 17, a little more than two months after he resigned from the police force.
“He resigned May 5,” Lowry said, without elaborating on Watson’s employment history.
According to a police report and court documents, police were dispatched to 820 Jared Drive, where Terri Archer lives. She called 911 and said Watson was beating on her front door and had been sending threatening text and photo messages to her phone.
Archer told officers she became afraid of Watson after his behavior had “changed so drastically,” recently.
JCPD Officer Jeff Legault, who filed the warrants on Watson, wrote in court documents that one of Watson’s messages indicated he was going to Archer’s house and “there was going to be a shootout.”
A photo message showed Watson wearing a bulletproof vest and another showed him holding a handgun — the same weapon found in Watson’s car when he was arrested.
Officers took Watson into custody that night and according to court documents, Watson was wearing the body armor and had a Colt .45 lying in the front passenger’s seat of his car. The weapon was located with one round in the chamber and four rounds in the clip, police said in the report.
Watson was arraigned on the charges July 18 and posted bond under a bond monitoring agreement that same day.
Some of the restrictions under that agreement require Watson to be employed, submit to random drug and alcohol tests, observe a curfew set by the case officer, and attend any drug and alcohol counseling if found necessary.
Other requirements for the bond are that Watson not possess a weapon, not consume alcohol, submit to a DNA test and not have any contact with the victim.
Archer filed a petition for Order of Protection after Watson’s arrest asking a judge to order Watson to stay away from her and her daughter, not cause any intentional damage to her property and to not hurt or threaten to hurt any of her animals.
According to Archer’s affidavit for the order, Watson became “mentally and physically abusive in the past few months,” and made numerous threats to “get me.”
She stated that he chased her from his home on July 13 and on July 16 went to her house “after hours of asking me to talk and come see him.”
Archer said in her petition that Watson threatened to take her two dogs and was angry because she was not home.
She called 911 and officers were dispatched to her house and they asked Watson to leave.
“When I returned home, the officers said he seemed ‘different.’” The officers were familiar with Watson because of his time as a JCPD officer. According to her petition, Watson now works at Grindstaff Ford.
Watson’s weapon and the city’s bulletproof police vest were seized at the time of his arrest.
The case is now set for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 28.